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Black Professionals in Private Equity and Finance – Dealmaker Spotlight: Reginald Binford Jr. – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – United States

17 September 2023

McGuireWoods LLP

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Q: What attracted you to PE?

Reginald Binford Jr.: Ownership. I’ve always felt that ownership matters. I worked in banking, so I helped people get into ownership positions and helped businesses take over other businesses. I’ve seen how ownership allows you to run a business in a way that aligns with your values ​​as well as effectively managing shareholder expectations. Ownership now gives me the opportunity to diversify and drive other aspects of running a business that are meaningful to me, while also allowing me to generate shareholder value for my investors.

Q: What goals have you set for yourself for the near future?

RB: One of the biggest goals I set for myself is to ensure there is diversity on the boards I put on and the management teams within my business. Although diversity is very important to me, I find that I am not pulling my weight as it relates to diversifying boards and management teams where I can hire people.

Achieving this goal requires that I work to establish relationships with a variety of groups to ensure that I can find and bring in quality board members for these businesses.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Black entrepreneurs? What advice would you give to overcome this?

RB: I think the biggest challenge that Black entrepreneurs face, and there have been studies around this, is the funding gap. There are many contributing factors to this gap, including a lack of networks and connections to all the funding sources that Black entrepreneurs have and can help run and grow a business as well as understanding the value of the different sources of financing available. Can. The black community is often told that debt is bad, which is not always true. At times we have not fully understood or appreciated the value of new equity partners.

The first piece of advice I would give to overcome the funding gap that can hinder Black businesses is to learn about the different forms of capital available and understand how they align with your business’s growth strategy. For example, you want to know when equity is important and when debt is important.

My next advice is to go out and talk to different capital providers. There are lots of capital sources looking for deals. Put yourself out there. Reach out to these people and start multiple conversations. This will help you raise capital and provide the best terms.

This is just the beginning. We must be prepared to provide education to capital sources about Black businesses and opportunities. This should include citing studies that show strong returns are often associated not only with Black entrepreneurs, but all entrepreneurs of color.

Q: How do you believe Black professionals will be able to impact the PE industry?

RB: I think the biggest impact will be our experiences – sharing our observations, how we have been affected by decisions and our perspective on problems. This is important not only for Black professionals, but for all professionals of diverse diversity and backgrounds.

I believe that by having a diversity of ideas in a room, you can better imagine different outcomes and get better returns. The more overall diversity of thought we can bring into PE, the better.

When I think about my investment team, I know it’s important to have diverse people in the room who can talk about their experiences and ideas and explain how they manage and solve problems, whether They may be sharing stories about their family businesses or what they have been through. In business school. I believe that conversations that lead us to see and consider things differently will help drive stronger returns in the long run.

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